Red Bull fastest as Lotus retreats at Barcelona

The Red Bull RB8 of Sebastian Vettel

The Red Bull RB8 of Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel has topped the time sheets at the end of the opening day of running in Barcelona, Spain.

Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) proved fastest in the early morning before Vettel moved to the top of the charts just prior to midday.

In the late afternoon, Vettel became the only man in the top seven to improve his time – a 1:23.3s lap putting the German 0.175s clear of his countryman Hulkenberg.

Lewis Hamilton was third fastest in the McLaren, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Michael Schumacher (Mercedes).

Schumacher later declared himself encouraged by the performance of the new Mercedes W03, despite his day being hampered by a hydraulic issue.

In even more trouble was Lotus, with the team pulling out of the entire test citing an undisclosed chassis fault that cannot be fixed at the circuit.

The team had brought its second E20 model chassis to the Barcelona test, following on from the strong form that the first one had shown at Jerez.

Romain Grosjean’s early efforts in the car at Barcelona  left the Frenchman 10th fastest by day’s end.

See below for the Day 1 times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.265s
 2 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.440s +0.175
 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m23.590s +0.325
 4 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.618s +0.353
 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.100s +0.835
 6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.150s +0.885
 7 Sergio Perez Sauber 1m24.219s +0.954
 8 Bruno Senna Williams 1m25.711s +2.446
 9 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m26.035s +2.770
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m26.809s +3.544
11 Charles Pic Marussia 1m28.026s +4.761

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